JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. -- Joint Base Anacostia Bolling (JBAB) recently conducted its annual base-wide hurricane preparedness exercise.
Hurricane Exercise Citadel Gale 2012, a Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) and Fleet Forces Command (FFC) exercise, is conducted at this time every year to help commands prepare for the Atlantic hurricane season from June 1-Nov. 30.
This year, JBAB played in the exercise with a scenario centered around an impending hurricane that was set to first strike North Carolina, and move up the coastline toward Virginia and Maryland.
"As with all exercises, there were some areas where we performed extremely well, and areas where we could use some improvement," said Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra, JBAB commander. "Overall, though, I think our Airmen and Sailors did an outstanding job. They set a high bar for the next exercise."
Sigmund Evans, JBAB emergency manager, called the exercise a great learning experience.
"This is a very busy installation and any time we get to train, it's beneficial to us all," he said.
Hurricane Conditions of Readiness (HURCONs) 1-5 were set throughout the exercise to help base residents and Emergency Operation Center (EOC) personnel take preparatory measures needed to properly secure the installation.
"The whole purpose of this exercise is to get all our team members, JBAB staff, residents and mission partners thinking about what they would do in the event of a real hurricane, getting in the mindset of planning and preparing before the storm arrives, and how to recover afterward," Calandra said. "Training like we would fight familiarizes people with how things are done in a real-world situation. Ingraining into people's habits what steps to take can mitigate damage, and most importantly, save lives."
Evans stressed the importance of getting an accurate headcount of all personnel attached to JBAB in the event of a disaster.
"The accountability portion is extremely important, making sure we know where all of our personnel are located and that they're safe," he said. "JBAB did a wonderful job in this arena."
The EOC, consisting of members from multiple organizations and disciplines on base, was stood up to monitor the hurricane and its potential impacts, and coordinate prevention, preparation, response and recovery procedures.The main event came Wednesday with a simulated incident involving a downed helicopter on the north end of the base. Other simulations included conducting a 100 percent accountability drill for all JBAB members and their families. An Emergency Family Assistance Center (EFAC) was also stood up at building 13, Warfighter and Family Services Center, following a simulated water main break and standing water on the north side of the installation.
Evans encouraged members to take a few moments out each week to dust off and review internal disaster procedures.
"You will be better off for it," he said. "Also, take baby steps toward achieving your ultimate plan goals. Everything you do to prepare will help you and your family during an incident when it happens. It's not a matter of 'if,' but 'when' on the subject of disasters."
"I want to thank everyone who participated in this exercise for all their hard work and encourage them to take their lessons learned and apply them in the future," said Calandra. "Have a plan, make a kit if needed and practice until your good is better, and your better is best."